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Let's Talk about the Top Topics

about 1 month ago

During our conversations with you there have been some recurring topics of interest. We’d like to dive into some of those.

The top three topics so far are waste minimisation, environmental and community impacts.

Under the waste minimisation banner, you’ve talked a lot about the sewage sludge processed at the Landfill. You’re interested in the sludge volume, handling and treatment, and whether there are any opportunities to compost sludge.

Other issues of interest have been the circular economy, product stewardship, recycling plastics, waste collection, green waste, container return schemes, construction and demolition waste and waste recovery.

Environmentally, aquatic impacts are top of the list in relation to Ōwhiro stream, Taputeranga Marine Reserve, and landfill design so as not to leach contaminants into the stream.

The community impacts raised are around traffic and road issues on Happy Valley Road, the cumulative effect of the three landfills in the area (Council’s Southern Landfill and two privately owned and run landfills) and the Southern landfill capacity and lifespan.

We’ve been keeping a record of all of the feedback so we can consider it in our waste management alternatives assessment and so it can help inform any of the technical studies we will need to do.

Below are a few of the questions we’ve received (and the answers!).

Are there any plans to compost sewage sludge?

We do not have plans to compost sewage sludge at this stage. We have done so in the past and it was not successful. It was costly to produce, there were many complaints about the odour, and it was not marketable as many people were opposed to the idea of composted human waste. Wellington Water is looking at options for sewage sludge handling, treatment and disposal.

Is the Landfill affecting the water quality for the stream and marine reserve?

The Council monitors water quality through monthly water sampling around the stream (Carey's stream) that runs through the Southern Landfill as part of our existing consent.

According to our annual compliance report from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, reviewed by an independent expert, the expert surmised that the Southern Landfill does not appear to be causing even minor adverse effects on water quality.

Instead of extending landfills, can you look at alternatives that involve reducing the amount of waste created in the first place?

We are committed to trialling a kitchen waste diversion scheme due to start in May next year. We also strongly encourage the use of reusable alternatives rather than single-use and degradable options and we fund sustainable initiatives with grants including the Waste Minimisation Seed Fund which you can learn more about here: https://wellington.govt.nz/services/community-and-culture/funding/council-funds/waste-minimisation-seed-fund

Wellington (and NZ in general) could really do with recycling solutions for food waste and soft plastics. It would be good to see Wellington City Council take the lead on this.

Council is committed to a trial of kitchen waste diversion as mentioned above. The soft plastic scheme is due to re-start again in selected stores in Wellington and the Hutt Valley from October. Head to https://www.recycling.kiwi.nz/solutions/soft-plastics/ to find out more.

The number of construction demolition trucks on the road to the Landfill is around 1000/day. It’s impacting on our mental and physical health. Also during winter there is lots of mud trucking up and down and pollution from uncovered loads. What can be done about this?

The Southern Landfill requires that all trucks must undergo wheel washing before they leave the site to minimise the amount of mud on the local roads.

Regarding uncovered loads, we are looking at a campaign both locally and within the Landfill to raise awareness and improve the efficiency of the covers. It is hoped that this will decrease the number of uncovered or poorly covered loads. Although this will be around trucks coming to the Southern Landfill, we are investigating ways of having a wider impact in order to reach trucks that are coming to the other two neighbouring privately run landfills.

As part of any consent application we will be looking at the number of trucks using the local roads and how many of those are coming to the Southern Landfill and how many are visiting C&D Landfill and T&T Landfill. That way we will have specific information to work on.


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